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How to Link to External Media in PowerPoint

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  • 0:02 Link or Embed?
  • 1:58 How to Embed a Video
  • 2:53 How to Link a Video
  • 4:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

When adding media, such as video or audio, to a presentation, you have two choices: you can embed the media or create a link to the media. This lesson will discuss the difference and show you how to create a link to external media in PowerPoint.

Link or Embed?

The ability to add video or audio to a PowerPoint slide is a great way to add multimedia effects to your presentation. Video and audio are great ways to create interest and quickly get the attention of your audience. The question is 'Do you embed the media or do you create a link?' Let me explain.

If you embed the media, you are inserting the video or audio directly on to the slide. In other words, it is part of the PowerPoint file. If you save the presentation, the media is saved with the file.

If you create a link to the media, you are linking the media on your slide to an external source or file. For example, if you add a link to a video and go to play the video, you are launching the file from its location, such as a folder on your hard drive. And, if you save the presentation and play it on a different computer, the link you created is now broken, unless you also save the video to the same place, in the same folder, on the other computer.

Most people prefer to embed or insert their media, such as videos. Through embedding, you minimize the potential for any technical difficulties or broken links. It also provides an 'all-encompassing' presentation file, which means you don't need to worry about copying the media and the presentation to another computer.

However, there is a concern when doing it this way. Because media, such as videos, tend to have large file sizes, your presentation can get very large as well. This may create problems when saving or running the presentation. This is the purpose of linking rather than embedding. Linking the video will help keep the PowerPoint file size small. We will start with reviewing how to embed a video.

How to Embed a Video

To begin, go to the slide that will display the video and click on the Insert tab. Then, follow these steps:

  • First, in the ribbon, go to the Media grouping of commands and click on Video
  • Next, choose Video on My PC from the drop-down menu
  • Then, search for and select the video you want to embed or insert
  • And, finally, click on the Insert button

You can choose to have the video Run on Click or to Play Automatically when the slide is loaded. To do this, make sure your video is selected and go to the Video Tools menu in the ribbon. Click on the Playback option in the Video Options grouping of commands, and make your selections on how to play the video. Now, let's take a look at how to link the video.

How to Link a Video

You start the same way as embedding: go to the slide for the video and click on the Insert tab. You will also follow the same first three steps: go to the Media grouping of commands and click on Video, then choose Video on My PC; search for and select your video.

Once you select your video, instead of clicking on the Insert button, click on the pick-list icon (or the upside-down triangle), which is located to the right of the Insert button. You will see two options: Insert and Link to File. In this case, choose Link to File.

Your video will look and function exactly the same as embedding; however, it will launch the file from its location. And, remember, if you copy that presentation to a different computer, be sure to copy the video as well.

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